Tart cranberry and zesty orange perfectly complement this soft spice cookie. Toasted brown butter and combination of warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves will make this recipe a family favorite. This recipe came in 2nd place in our 2018 Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest.

Cranberry Orange Spice Cookies

Cranberry-Orange Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

    Cookies:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped
  • Frosting:
  • 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325?F.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg, extract and sour cream; beat until well blended.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, ginger, cloves and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in two additions; beat until incorporated.
  4. Combine cranberries and orange peel in a small bowl; set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture for topping. Stir remaining cranberries and orange peel into dough. Cover and refrigerate at least 45 minutes.
  5. Form chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until cookies are light golden around edges. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets 1 minute then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. For the frosting, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, cooking until the butter bubbles, foams and turns amber in color and smells nutty. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Let butter cool 5 minutes. Stir in confectioner’s sugar. Add 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla; beat until smooth, adding more milk if necessary for a soft frosting.
  7. Spread frosting over cookies and top each with a pinch of reserved cranberry/orange peel mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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